Recently I’ve been going through a resurgence of what many in the recovery world would call “drinking dreams” except in my case, they’re actually not about alcohol, they’re about sex.
First off, I guess I should explain for those who don’t know what I’m talking about what a “drinking dream” is. In the Alcoholics Anonymous world, it refers to when when a person who has been sober for awhile has a dream where they’ve relapsed and picked back up alcohol again. For most who have ever experienced one of these type of dreams, all the old feelings of guilt, remorse, shame, and self-pity can emerge from just one of them, but in most cases, there is generally a great amount of relief upon discovery that it was just a dream. In the narcotics world with people who have dually suffered from addictions to drugs and other illegal substances, these type of dreams would be referred to as “using dreams”. In both cases whether it’s alcohol or drugs, usually in the first year or so of recovery, these relapse dreams are actually quite common. Unfortunately, for someone like me who has been clean and sober from both for over 18 years now, they still continue to occur ,but from another addiction that I only quit just over a year ago, which is my sex and love addiction.
Through therapy, I’ve been able to figure out that on some level, my sex and love addiction began around puberty after I was molested. And for almost three decades since then, some part of me acted out in this addiction time after time after time. Thankfully, I ceased all of those behaviors since April of 2012, but in doing so, it appears I’ve also triggered many waves of these “drinking dreams” to start happening again, except this time, they are about me relapsing into my sex and love addiction. Usually in most of them, I’m hooking up with random strangers, or doing actions that are sexual in nature with people from my past that were lustrous based. Being in a monogamous relationship now makes these types of dreams bother me all the more, especially in the ones where I know I’m cheating on my partner. I often wish I could control my dreams but lately I’ve been doing some research and reflection into why they actually occur.
I have a theory that hasn’t been proven yet, but one I believe is true. For some, these types of dreams, no matter what the former addiction, are indicative of how one could still be living in their waking life. In other words, a person may be doing some type of addiction based behaviors that are very close to actually relapsing. Maybe they are hanging out with people still acting out in those addictions. Maybe they are doing addiction based things on the Internet. Or maybe there is a part of them that never really wanted to give up the addiction in the first place. In all of those cases, any of that could trigger those type of dreams. In my case though, it’s none of those simply for the fact that I have placed so much strictness in my life to stay free from all those past toxic things I did throughout all my addictions, including the sex and love based one. So this has led me to believe that what’s actually happening is something entirely different.
Is it possible that pockets of energy that I stored within me from all of those sex and love based addiction events in my life are surfacing and releasing while I’m sleeping? Could it be that as any of that energy surfaces, the dreams acts as a release process to remove that old energy out of me. I have compared this a lot lately to what it would be like if one placed a carbonated beverage out on a counter overnight. The carbonation would surface throughout the night and release into the air and at some point, the beverage would have changed properties for good. It’s my hope that is what’s happening to me and that eventually I won’t have these types of dreams happening anymore.
The most difficult thing I really have in seeing these extremely visual representations in my dreams is the simple fact that I don’t ever want to go back to that type of life ever again. I don’t want to ever randomly hook up with strangers anymore or have lustrous based moments or look at porn or cheat on a partner or any of those behaviors that made me so sick. Up until April last year, I knew hardly anything about love and intimacy and instead understood the language of sex and lust only. Trying to reprogram this is proving to be very difficult but maybe, just maybe, my mind and body is already doing that while I sleep when it manifest these types of dreams.
Regardless, I’m grateful, because in all of those moments when I wake up after having one of those “drinking dreams”, the most important thing is still there for me to realize…And that is I’m still clean and sober from ALL addictions that I have ever lived in. Hopefully, one day soon, God’s programming within me will be extensive enough to where I’m not acting out on any addiction, even in my dream state.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson